Sunday, 9 November 2008

Charity, Karaoke and Cooking!

I apologize to begin with because I know this post will be extra long.

So friday classes and such went without anything really exciting happening. I was amused when June passed me a note during the weekly teacher's meeting. I saw her write it down, fold it up tiny-tiny-tiny and then she threw it across the table at me. Of course it was about classes and not like "Teehee! So-and-so is cute!", but I still liked the idea that she passed me a note and we're teachers....

Friday night I was a bum. I cleaned and did laundry and dishes so I wouldn't feel too bad about staying in. Watched some Battlestar Galactica (did I mention I finished Star Trek?).

Saturday morning I woke up early and headed out to Concordia, the international school next door, to help with the River of Hearts charity event. I got there at 9am and left around 1:45. Other than a 15 minute lunch break I didn't rest at all! It was constant go-go-go. The event was sorting donations and then packing them up. I was in the "packing them up" part of the group. I mostly filled and packed up boxes of baby summer clothes, baby winter clothes, children summer clothes and children winter clothes. I had to make sure that people bringing in donations put them in the right box and when they were full I taped the box closed with packing tape. For most of the time I had another girl helping me. A student from the Shanghai International High School whose English name was Donna. We spoke half Chinese and half English with each other. I had a lot of fun with her and she was very helpful. I made a smilie face in packing tape on her apron which she thought was hilarious.

Things got pretty busy and pretty crazy. We went through boxes labeled "children's winter clothes" faster than anything else. Donna and I were constantly yelling "CHILDREN'S WINTER!" to the box maker/labelers. I lost count of how many boxes I taped closed, but I went through 6 rolls of packing tape. I was a speed demon with that packing tape dispenser by the end of the day. Donna joked that we would dream about packing up boxes that night. Oddly enough, that night when I was trying to fall asleep I was packing boxes in my mind. Like when I play tetris too much and I start playing it in my head. Does any else do that or is it just something my dad and I do? No one? Ok...

Lunch at the charity event was interesting. The sandwich was ham with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato and mayo. I took off the tomato and it was a tasty sandwich. Why does food eaten when starving, tired, and volunteering always taste so good? I must have looked sure of myself on Saturday because I had people coming up to me for everything. They wanted to know which boxes to put things in, where the packed boxes should go, where the bathroom was, which group they should help, even if they could stop and have lunch! I answered what questions I could and for everything else I directed them to someone that actually knew what was going on. I must admit I got a bit of a rush out of the whole event. Working quickly and efficiently and getting to see immediate results of your work always does that. Plus having people coming up to me and asking questions made me feel a little like I was back running a TMT event. It was exhausting though. My feet/ankles were killing me when we were done and I would have gladly taken a nap, but I had other plans!

After the charity event I ran back to my apartment for a quick shower so I wouldn't smell like old clothes. I took a cab to the subway and then took a cab from the subway (yes, you read that right) to the karaoke place I was meeting up with Lucy and her friends. I completely walked past the place before I realized it was the right place. Karaoke can be so fancy here. The building looked like a hotel at first glance. We were on the fifth floor in room 501. There was a buffet with food and drinks and such that was included. We had our own private room with a huge wrap around couch, tables, a big TV and a bunch of microphones. It was only 55RMB (around $7) for 3 hours. I gave Lucy a USB with 4 gigs of music on it since she asked what I liked to listen to. I sang a bunch and had some yummy food stuffs. I mostly just sang stuff if Lucy picked it or it came on randomly and I knew it. The only song I actually picked was Chasing Cars.

When we were done at karaoke, we all split ways. I ended up taking a cab with Evan (the guy I met on Halloween?) to Jing'An temple subway stop. He works for PopCap games. On the way he started talking about donuts, which made me want a donut. He had the cab driver stop a little bit away from the subway and we went to Mr. Donut (I think that's what it was called). I had a glazed donut that was DELICIOUS. Then we ended up going to a DVD place that he goes to. It was more expensive than my DVD lady, but they had "A Knight's Tale" which I have been looking for EVERYWHERE. I figured it would be perfect for class since it mentions a bunch of stuff we talked about in class (heraldry, jousting, sword fighting, animals living in the house with the peasants...hehe) plus it has enough action and modern music to keep the younger crowd interested. After that I took the subway back home.

I decided to let myself wake up naturally this morning since I still haven't been feeling 100% and I had been running on limited sleep a lot lately (trouble sleeping). Apparently I needed it. I went to bed around midnight and woke up at 1pm! Today was pretty much all about getting ready for the cooking with my students. I went to the store to pick up the rest of the stuff I needed. I needed to get a lot of stuff I had asked the school for and they didn't give me or told me I didn't need. Umm...knives and mixing bowls? *sigh* Oh well, paying out of pocket means I get to keep everything. Now I have a bunch more cooking supplies like a ladle, a bunch of bowls, tongs.... After shopping I had to hardboil a ton of eggs. It took two batches since I couldn't fit all the eggs into my pan. It took me three trips to bring everything I needed to the school. I set up everything on a bunch of different tables. Once the students started showing up, we started cooking!

I decided to trim back and only cook three recipes instead of four. It worked out well into a kind of appetizer, main dish, dessert trio. The appetizer was the eggs. Kind of like deviled eggs, except you fry them when you're done. I was greatly amused by the huge audience of students I had as I fried up the eggs they had peeled, cut, mixed and refilled. The main dish was supposed to be an onion soup. The school had given me celery when I asked for parsley. I figured waste not, want not, so it ended up being onion AND celery soup. The base for the soup was beer, which the students were going crazy about. When I asked them why the base of a medieval soup might be beer, one student answered immediately (and in Chinese) that water usually wasn't clean. Aha! They remembered something from class! Once the soup was cooked, the recipe said to serve it in a bowl with a slice of bread at the bottom. Which we did. Most students weren't crazy about the soup, but about 4 of them really liked it and went back for more. Dessert was a kind of cherry pottage. I was going a bit crazy because I couldn't find cherries anywhere in any form except jam. I finally found them at imported food store in a can. It was a lot of money to dish out for two cans of cherries, but I really wanted to make the recipe. Most students liked the dessert dish best. I think I did too.

A few students stayed to help me clean up, though most left to go back to their classes when they were done eating. I recruited a few to help me bring stuff back to my apartment so I wouldn't have to take a ton of trips again. My sink is now filled with dirty dishes. I gave them all a rinse, but all my dish towels are dirty and I don't have a drying rack. I'll have to clean them tomorrow. I think cooking went mostly well.

My phone keeps turning itself on silent in my pocket. Which means I missed a call from the taichi man early tonight. I haven't been back since I went with Charlotte and he wasn't there. I've been busy or sick pretty much everyday and it had gotten to the point I hadn't been back in so long I was a bit embarrassed. Considering the total misunderstanding when I tried to call him back last time, I think I am going to cross my fingers and hope he calls again. I really do want to go back a learn more.

Today when I was riding back from the store I felt absolutely wonderful just riding my bike. After cooking tonight I figured I would go back out again. I don't know how far I went. I just turned down the main street off of the road I live on and started riding. Once I got bored I rode back. It was a nice long ride in the cold night air. One guy who was bundled up like an Eskimo saw me bike riding in my shorts, t-shirt, and thin sweater and laughed hysterically. Ahh...silly people with cold blood.

I also had a weird stroke of luck with my DVD lady. I bought seasons 1-3 in a box set of Battlestar Galactica a few days ago. Disk three wasn't working so I brought that one disk back to her to exchange it. She told me she didn't have the 1-3 box set anymore but had 1-4 and I could exchange one set for the other and pay the difference. I figured what the heck, I wanted to get season 4 eventually anyway. Turns out that because of the way the episodes were split up for the different sets, there was only one more disk in the 4 season set than the 3 season set. So I got a much better deal than if I had bought season 4 by itself later. Whoo.

Ok, that was a super long post. Now I am going to post an entry with a ton of pictures in it.



Pete said...

First of all, I love your blog entries because they are so detailed and long. Please keep it up!

Whenever I couldn't find a DVD that I wanted, I would put the name of the movie into Baidu or Chinese Google plus "DVD". It immediately comes up with the Chinese name, which could be easily given to the DVD store owner/lady. They can either put in a "special order" or they might have a copy elsewhere.

Emily said...

You are not alone! I also will play games in my head after playing them a long time. Once I played Tetris and then watched the news and played Tetris around the newscasters head. He was all walled in. I guess we are just clones, then.